Austin-Healey 100 BN1 "Le Mans" 1955
Chassis no. BN1L 222880
Engine no. 1B222880
2,660cc OHV Inline 4-Cylinder Engine
2 SU Carburetors
Approximately 110bhp at 4,500rpm
4-Speed Manual Transmission with Overdrive (see text)
Front Independent Suspension - Live Rear Axle
4-Wheel Drum Brakes
*Lovely example of the classic Healey 100
*Believed to have been upgraded in period to 100M Le Mans Specifications
*Recently received Fast Road spec engine rebuilt by JME Healeys
*Offered with Heritage Certificate
THE AUSTIN-HEALEY 100
They say that timing is everything, which is something that British motor industry veteran Donald Healey knew a bit about. This was a man who, after winning the Carlo Rally in 1931 driving an Invicta, failed to finish in 1935 after colliding with a train while driving one of the three Triumph Dolomite Straight-Eights.
Following World War II, from his base in Warwick, UK, Healey began building very high-quality sporting cars using Riley running gear. There were roadsters, dropheads and coupes. These were cars that an upper middle-class owner could drive to work and rally or race on the weekends, but they weren't cheap. After that came the Nash-Healey sports car which, despite the modestly priced-running gear from the American independent manufacturer, still cost more than $4,000 – a result of the car's chassis, suspension and coachwork.
Healey was well aware that he needed a car that could be built in larger numbers and sold at a lower price in the rapidly emerging sports car market. MG and Jaguar were selling the bulk of their production to North America and Triumph was readying the TR2. So, using the 4-cylinder 2.6-liter Austin A-90 engine and transmission as well as other components from the parts bin of the newly formed BMC (a merger of the Austin and Nuffield/Morris companies), Healey produced a sleek and beautiful prototype styled by Gerry Coker. Healey showed this, his "Healey Hundred", at the 1952 Earls Court Motor Show in the UK, where it caught the eye of BMC supreme Leonard Lord.
Again, Healey's timing was perfect. Lord selected his car over a new MG prototype, thus delaying the replacement of the old-fashioned MG TD which was also in the BMC family. When it went on sale in 1953, the beautiful Austin-Healey 100 cost less than $3,000 in the United States and would top 100mph. Designated as 'BN1s', those first cars used the 90bhp Austin engine and 3-speed transmission with overdrive. They were happily received in the United States, which took most of the 10,688 cars produced.
THE MOTORCAR OFFERED
This exquisite Austin-Healey is noted as having been originally delivered to the U.S. market with a supply date of January 13, 1955, it was as new as it is found today, with solid Healey Blue paintwork, blue interior and blue top, unequivocably the iconic and best-looking scheme for these cars. According to information reported from its Heritage Certificate it was fitted with wire wheels, laminated windshield, heater and miles per hour speedometer. Former owners of the car note it to have received the upgrade to Le Mans package in period, and although this cannot be confirmed those that have worked on it report its features to be correct, period items.
In more recent times the car was the subject of full restoration more than a decade ago, bringing it to quite exceptional order, this work being carried out by Highland Automotive of New York, a respected Healey shop for more than 30 years. During the restoration, to improve its usability it was fitted with a BN2 4-speed transmission.
The car was purchased by the present owner, a noted collector of sportscars in 2014 here in America, it was subsequently shipped to his British base. On arrival a decision was made to further enhance its usability in a number of key aspects, the engine was sent to JME Healeys to be rebuilt to their 'Fast Road Specifications', including Fast Road aluminum head and camshaft, with high compression pistons, a lightweight flywheel and uprated front pulley. In addition, it has been converted to front disc brakes, to compensate for the increased performance. Completing the package is a correct 100/4 tool kit as well as a set of as new side curtains, which are in their packaging and have never mounted.
With this work it was anticipated that the car would receive regular use, but ultimately that has not been the case, only a few hundred miles since the engine rebuild, which has become its reason for sale. In every major respect from its mechanical preparation to the aesthetic condition the car is ready to use and beautifully presented, perfect for a Florida spring drive, or the summer around the country.
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